The Engagement party guide

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Engagement Party 101: All about the who, what, when, where and why

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sarahandbrentphotography.com surprise engagement at cliffsSource: Sarah and Brent Photography

Congratulations, you’re engaged! If you're reading this, you might be here wondering what is all the hype about engagement parties, and are they still a thing and do I even want one? Though, where do you even begin? Is there a formality to it all and who hosts it?

For all your questions answered and more, read on and I've even included a few helpful tips and tricks. 

1. What is an engagement party?

An engagement party is a fun way to celebrate your "she said yes" moment with your loved ones, beyond a simple announcement on social media, you can share your excitement with your friends and family by throwing a party. Engagement parties are a great way to introduce your families to each other, break the ice and get your wedding guests mingling before the day, and to celebrate the upcoming wedding.

Engagement Party Quick TipEngagement parties are not a must but can be a nice touch to start your wedding planning.

2. Do you have to have an engagement party?

In short, no! If you aren’t looking to do an engagement party, you don’t have to. With weddings, there are loads of opportunities to celebrate before the day, which means there is no need to place strain on your wedding budget if you don’t need to.

But if you are really feeling in the mood for a celebration, why not?

Blushing Drops Backyard engagement party backdrop
Source: Blushing Drops

3. Who hosts and pays for the engagement party?

Keeping to tradition, the bride’s parents usually throw the engagement party. This isn’t always done anymore and can be hosted by close friends and family of the bridal couple or the couple themselves, if they wish. The bride’s parents should always be given the first option of hosting.

Engagement Party Quick TipIf you are really excited about getting married, you might also feel that you’d want two engagement parties, one for each of your hometowns or one for family and one for friends.

 4. Where do you hold an engagement party?

Engagement parties can be as big or as small as you like, giving you loads of flexibility for the venue. Depending on who's hosting it, a cocktail reception at your parents’ home or a party in your aunt’s backyard is a lovely, intimate option. Depending on your budget, you could also rent out a private dining room at a bar, pub, garden, an estate, or your favourite restaurant for something a little more formal and without worrying about setting up and cleaning up afterward.

Engagement Party Quick TipSomething to keep in mind; if the hosts are local, the party would be celebrated in your city/ town. But if the hosts are not local, you may want to have it in their city/ town. 

Never too kate blog engagement party welcomeNever too kate blog cocktail tables
Source: Never Too Kate Blog

5. When do you have an engagement party?

In a perfect world, the engagement party usually takes place as soon as a couple of months after the proposal. This gives you enough time to experience the joys of being engaged together and to let the excitement sink in. The engagement party also serves as a start to getting down to serious wedding planning.

Though with global pandemics such as Covid-19, sometimes this can't happen until a year or so later and that is also ok. Unlike a bridal shower that would need to be held closer to the wedding date, your engagement party can be at a time that suits both of you and the surrounding circumstances around lockdowns and social distancing.

Engagement Party Quick Tip Once you’re both happy to set a date to celebrate with your loved ones, I recommend giving your guests one month’s notice (up to 6 weeks if you’re inviting long-distance friends and family), to send out your engagement party invitations.

6. Do you need to send engagement party invitations?

No, engagement party invitations are not a must but are a nicer touch than a haphazard text or email. Deciding whether to send formal invitations to your guests depends on the type of event you are wanting to have.

  • If you are having a seated dinner, or a cocktail party that is a little more formal, paper invitations are an elegant option.
  • If you are going for a more casual, laid-back, and intimate party, e-vites are a playful option that your guests would enjoy and carry on their phones with them too.

Don’t worry about the theme of your invitations, they don’t need to match the theme of your wedding. Feel free to choose a simple, informal, or playful design that can be printed or digital. Most designs nowadays come with professional wording already laid out that you can type in your details and send, saving you the time to sit in engagement bliss.

Engagement Party Quick Tip If you are a little more organized and have your wedding registry ready, you could also include a link to your registry on your invitations in case some guests would like to buy you an engagement party gift.

modern minimalist calligraphy wedding engagement party invitation with photoSource: Make Me Digital Contemporary Calligraphy Engagement Party Invitation

7. How long should an engagement party last?

There is no set time but can last between 2 – 4 hours. This allows you enough time to share in your excitement with your guests, have a good catch-up, and enjoy a few drinks and nibbles with everyone.

Engagement Party Quick Tip If you’re wondering what to do in terms of food, it can be as simple as a potluck or BBQ. If you are at a restaurant, they would then take care of that for you (which can save you on cooking and cleaning time)

 Engagement shoot with pet photoSource: Brooke Womack Photography

I hope this helps you with your engagement party planning. If you are keen to get started on planning one, that's great!

In case you are wondering, Make Me Digital is an editable party template company that provides editable invitations, fun games and decor. We have plenty of different engagement party invitation themes, with matching signage, games and matching menus available. The designs are so easy to use, learn more about how it works.

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If you have any questions regarding engagement party stationery or need help deciding on a theme, please feel free to get in touch